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Where’s the ‘Probable Cause’?
national review ^ | 4-13-12 | John Lott

Posted on 04/13/2012 7:05:10 PM PDT by doug from upland

The charges brought against George Zimmerman sure look like prosecutorial misconduct. The case as put forward by the prosecutor in the “affidavit of probable cause” is startlingly weak. As a former chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission, I have read a number of such affidavits, and cannot recall one lacking so much relevant information. The prosecutor has most likely deliberately overcharged, hoping to intimidate Zimmerman into agreeing to a plea bargain. If this case goes to trial, Zimmerman will almost definitely be found “not guilty” on the charge of second-degree murder.

The prosecutor wasn’t required to go to the grand jury for the indictment, but the fact that she didn’t in such a high-profile case is troubling. Everyone knows how easy it is for a prosecutor to get a grand jury to indict, because only the prosecutor presents evidence. A grand-jury indictment would have provided political cover; that charges were brought without one means that the prosecutor was worried that a grand jury would not give her the indictment.

Advertisement The affidavit consists of six main points:

● Zimmerman was upset about all “the break-ins in his neighborhood” and expressed anger at how criminals “always get away.”

● According to a discussion with Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend, who said that she was talking to Martin before the attack, Zimmerman followed Martin. He did so despite the police operator’s saying “we don’t need you to do that.”

● Zimmerman “confronted Martin and a struggle ensued,” though no evidence is cited on this point.

● Trayvon Martin’s mother identified the voice crying for help on a 9-1-1 call as her son’s.

● Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest, and this is confirmed by both Zimmerman’s statement and ballistics tests.

● Martin died from the gunshot wound.

Note some of the points that are missing. The prosecution doesn’t claim Zimmerman had racial animus against blacks. There was no “f***ing coons” on the police call. Some extremely relevant information from the police report is completely excluded: There is no mention of the grass and wetness found on the back of Zimmerman’s shirt, the gashes on the back of his head, the bloody nose, or the other witnesses who saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him, before the shot was fired. There is not even an attempt to say that the police report was in error; instead the affidavit just disregards it.

Even if everything in the affidavit is correct, it does not even begin to deal with the most crucial question: Who attacked whom? Even if it is true that “Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued,” there may have been no wrongdoing on Zimmerman’s part. “Confronted” does not mean “provoked” or “assaulted.” It could simply mean that Zimmerman followed Martin and asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood. Surely Zimmerman had the right to investigate a strange person in his neighborhood. The police operator’s advice that “we don’t need you to do that” was merely suggestive, not an order to stop. Indeed, the police had no authority to give Zimmerman such an order.

Now take the charge of “second degree” murder. There is no way that the affidavit justifies such a charge. In Florida, second-degree murder is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual.” But if Zimmerman was being beaten, there was no “depraved mind regardless of human life,” and the act “imminently dangerous to another” would be justified as self-defense.

Angela Corey, the special prosecutor who filed charges, claimed multiple times on Wednesday that the prosecutors “are seekers of the truth.” In our legal system, grand juries can sometimes provide a check on prosecutors who indict based on political pressure or the desire to seek the limelight. It is no surprise that Corey avoided the grand jury.

— John R. Lott Jr. is a contributor and a co-author of the just-released Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future (John Wiley & Sons, March 2012).

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blackkk; florida; georgezimmerman; johnlott; lott; marktwain; trayvon; trayvonmartin; z911calltranscript; zimmerman; zimmermancharged
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To: Liberty Wins

“Why did Martin confront Zimmerman in such an aggressive way”

You might try asking the affidavit...oops, it says Zimmerman did the confronting. I sure hope there’s some evidence to back that up.

121 posted on 04/14/2012 12:18:46 AM PDT by Tublecane
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To: Tau Food
“I think Zimmerman called 911”

Zimmerman called the non-emergency police number.

“someone at 911 told him to quit following the kid.”

The operator was a civilian employee, not police, and he simply told Zimmerman he “didn't need to do that.” Also, the Sanford Police Department conducted a Neighborhood Watch training session at Zimmerman's apartment complex. Zimmerman was well informed about legal issues and risk issues BEFORE the shooting.

“was he following the kid in his car when that happened?”

No. He left his truck, in a cold steady rain, and walked/ran to the point where he had lost sight of Trayvon Martin. At that spot, Trayvon Martin was less than 350 feet from his father's townhouse, and Trayvon had a 300 foot lead on Zimmerman. Why Trayvon - who claimed to be afraid, according to his girlfriend - simply didn't jog home has never been explained.


Zimmerman observed Martin for AT LEAST 2 minutes and 14 seconds BEFORE he got out of his truck.

This is verified by the cell phone connect time and the sound of Zimmerman's door alarm on the tape.

What Trayvon Martin was doing for 2:14 BEFORE Zimmerman began to follow him has never been explained.

122 posted on 04/14/2012 12:21:21 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: moehoward
"The office of the State Attorney, 4th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Angela Corey has requested that the City of Sanford remove all reports, videos and audio pertaining to the Martin/Zimmerman case from the website. Their office has provided legal justification for the action and they believe further access to the information will have an adverse effect on their efforts to come to a resolution to this investigation."

Angela Corey is a pig.

123 posted on 04/14/2012 12:23:12 AM PDT by cynwoody
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To: cynwoody
"The question was how Zimmerman should have taken the police advice, "We don't need you to do that",

Well it certainly sounds optional to me. Where as this exchange sounds a little more like they expect him to do it....


911 dispatcher: Let me know if he does anything, OK?

Zimmerman: OK.

911 dispatcher: We’ve got him on the wire. Just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman: OK. These assholes. They always get away. When you come to the clubhouse, you come straight in and you go left. Actually, you would go past the clubhouse. [1:39]

124 posted on 04/14/2012 12:31:47 AM PDT by moehoward
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To: Tublecane

Interesting, that right up until Corey decided against the Grand Jury, all that info being up was just hunky dory.

125 posted on 04/14/2012 12:39:24 AM PDT by moehoward
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To: RIghtwardHo

From what I read, when asked not to follow he stopped.


The 911 operator also wanted to know where Martin went so that the police who were in route could follow up. He said he didn’t know where Martin went. When Zimmerman went around the corner to an open area between houses to take a look is when Martin attacked him.

If that’s true, Zimmerman did nothing wrong in looking. He was attempting to provide the 911 operator what he/she requested.

126 posted on 04/14/2012 12:44:25 AM PDT by DB
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To: moehoward
911 dispatcher: We’ve got him on the wire. Just let me know if this guy does anything else.

"We've got him on the wire"?? Huh?

Sounded to my ears more like, "We've got 'em on the way". As in, police officers to witness you committing second degree! Not! LOL!

127 posted on 04/14/2012 12:49:23 AM PDT by cynwoody
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To: cynwoody

Yeah, some of these transcriptions are pretty screwy.

But you see the point?
GM is told twice to keep an eye on Martin but when asked if he’s following, he’s told he doesn’t need to do that.....

Someone less familiar with police procedure might take that as an extra credit assignment.

128 posted on 04/14/2012 1:00:18 AM PDT by moehoward
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To: RIghtwardHo

“25 years of Prosecution here. There is NO doubt there is probable cause for Voluntary.”

At least 3 nationally known attorneys disagree.

Mark Levin, former chief of staff to Attorney general Ed Meese.

Andrew C. McCarthy, U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the 1993 WTC terrorists.

Alan Dershowitz, the youngest ever full Professor of Law at Harvard who has won 13 of 15 murder appeals.

All three have given blanket condemnation of the affidavit.

Not one of them has even hinted there are grounds for Voluntary Manslaughter.

“just carrying the gun and following when told not to gets you [to Voluntary Manslaughter].”

Zimmerman was licensed and trained for concealed carry.

Zimmerman requested and attended a Sanford Police Department training seminar for his Neighborhood Watch group BEFORE the shooting.

The civilian employee Zimmerman spoke to on the non-emergency police line NEVER ordered Zimmerman to do anything.

When Zimmerman asked if he should follow Martin - whom he had observed for AT LEAST 2 minutes and 14 seconds - the civilian operator said “we don't need you to do that.”

129 posted on 04/14/2012 1:00:18 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Ken H; TigersEye

I take it back. He was not ordered not to follow. At most, it was a suggestion.

130 posted on 04/14/2012 1:08:11 AM PDT by doug from upland (Just in case, it has been reserved:
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To: doug from upland

Zimmerman will forever have an arrest for “murder”. That was the goal, thus far, it’s called “multijusticism”.

131 posted on 04/14/2012 1:24:33 AM PDT by Fitzy_888 ("ownership society")
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To: ntnychik
Have you listened to the 911 call in its entirety?

Thank you for pointing out the information that shows the ignorance of many posters.

When you also consider the map of the area, you will see that if Zimmeerman was "stalking" Martin, Martin would have been pushed toward his father's girlfriend's house (I believe 900 feet away). Instead, Martin chose to go in the opposite direction and confront Zimmerman.

I would also like to see the 7-11 tapes of when Martin purchased the products versus when Zimmerman first saw him. This may support the notion that Martin was not going directly home, but loitering between the back of the homes in the gated community during a moderate rainstorm.

132 posted on 04/14/2012 1:51:02 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: wolficatZ; ntnychik

I’ve been asking people who have “convicted” Zimmerman if they have carefully listened to the initial Zimmerman call in it’s entirety. Most were a “no”, and I’m not sure I believe the “yes”es. It is quite possible the latter group just listened to the NBC version.

133 posted on 04/14/2012 1:56:42 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: doug from upland

Here’s all a jury needs to know: Who called 911 and who didn’t.

Zimmerman called 911. Had he intended to “hunt down” (as has been stated by some) and kill Martin, he wouldn’t have done so while on the phone to 911.

Martin didn’t call 911, nor did he ask his girlfriend to. It’s appears that he circled back and confronted Martin, believing himself to be tough enough to take him down. (That surmised from Martin’s attack on the bus driver and Zimmerman’s stating to the 911 operator that he had “lost” Martin prior to the confrontation.)

134 posted on 04/14/2012 2:58:31 AM PDT by SuzyQueIN
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To: doug from upland

I can give Zimmerman a fair trial, and I’ll bet 99.9% of the people posting on this site could as well.

135 posted on 04/14/2012 3:00:12 AM PDT by SuzyQueIN
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To: RIghtwardHo
25 years of Prosecution here. There is NO doubt there is probable cause for Voluntary. I am a little surprised at 2nd degree but just carrying the gun and following when told not to gets you there

Guess those "25 years as a prosecutor" did little to improve on your ability to "Comprehend" the English language nor grasp the facts as they are known?


Dispatcher: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yes


For all of you Freepers who keep advancing this FALSE, narative (in spite of the 911 call available to anyone who cares to take the time to review it) I have this advice

I'm reminded of Mark Twain's supposed quote: "Get your facts straight, then distort them as you please."

136 posted on 04/14/2012 3:07:14 AM PDT by Conservative Vermont Vet (l)
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To: TigersEye

Zimmerman’s injuries as stated in the police report are another aspect worth noting. As someone said here days ago, when police are called to a domestic dispute, they assume the person with the injuries is the victim and not the aggressor.

137 posted on 04/14/2012 3:09:35 AM PDT by SuzyQueIN
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To: zeestephen
7:09:34 - Zimmerman connects to non-emergency police number, reports suspicious activity by Martin.

7:10:23 - Zimm reports Martin is staring at him.

7:11:35 - Zimm reports Martin is approaching his truck, and that Martin's hand is in his waistband.

7:11:42 - Zimm reports Martin is running.

7:11:48 - Door chime on Zimm’s truck can be heard.

7:12:00 - Operator tells Zimm “we don't need you” to follow Martin - Zimm quickly says “OK.”

7:13:41 - Zimm agrees to meet police at his truck, and he hangs up call.

7:14:30 - Several reports claim that Zimm returned to his truck after hanging up - they claim that Martin confronted Zimm by banging on his window - they claim Martin then ran and Zimm followed him.

Trayvon Martin and girlfriend DeeDee phone records.....

There are many conflicting reports on this.

7:09:34 - Many reports say Martin and DeeDee were on the phone continuously until seconds before Martin was shot.

7:12:00 - Two reports say DeeDee’s cell phone record shows she called Martin at 7:12 (which means between 7:12 and 7:12:59).

7:15:40 - According to DeeDee this is when sounds of a fight begin, and Martin's phone disconnects.

DeeDee says she tried to phone Martin back, but got no answer.

There are no published reports that DeeDee tried to contact police or contact Trayvon’s parents after she heard a fight start.

7:16:11 - The first citizen 911 call comes in - screaming heard in the background.

138 posted on 04/14/2012 3:49:12 AM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Conservative Vermont Vet

Dispatcher: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yes


Interesting. A careful parsing of the sentence suggests that the “WE” could be interpreted as meaning IF Zimmerman is following the suspect, the police (WE) don’t need to...

139 posted on 04/14/2012 4:18:48 AM PDT by Paisan
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To: USAF80
-Shorty is laughing and calling him a p-—y That is it in a nutshell. Martin was "dissed" simply because he was being followed. The girlfriend egged him on, probably told him to "be a man". Martin, not wanting to be seen as a wimp, decided to be a man. He wanted street cred. Never bring skittles to a gunfight.
140 posted on 04/14/2012 4:24:07 AM PDT by GeorgiaDawg32 (God is dead - William Hamilton....William Hamilton is dead - God (And he means it))
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